Life in the French Ghetto…

Monday 13th October 2008

Hey everyone,
It has been BUSY over here in the delightful ghetto of Les Minguettes, so get ready for a very long post!
I almost don’t know where to start, as there’s so much to say!

Ok, well I guess the most important things should go first, so I’ll tell you all about my new neighbours. Up until two weeks ago, Bioforce had been pretty quiet, with only us Masters students and a couple of other smaller classes going on. Then the new students arrived, 130 of them, to start their school year training in logistics, project management, administration etc.
Apart from a hefty smattering of filthy hippies (I have soooooo gotten over that look – maybe it’s cos I’m getting old, but it’s like, seriously, have a shower and wash your clothes already!)
but the rest of them are GORGEOUS!
I’m not kidding, humanitarian aid is clearly where all the hot men have been hiding all my life (or maybe it’s cos they’re French?). I am literally surrounded by beautiful muscly men all day, with their deep blue eyes and sexy accents….. so many to choose from!
Anyhoo, three of these lovelies moved into the apartment across the hall from me, and conveniently our dining room looks directly into their dining room, so every time I sit down to eat, I get the most fantastic views! All of them like wandering around topless, and neither we nor they have any curtains, so it’s just too good to be true!

After about a week of appreciating the view of my fabulous new neighbours, I was in the supermarket on Friday after work, and in the checkout line, was having a bit of trouble understanding the cashier. The guy behind me realised I was English, and helped by translating for me, and when I explained that I went to Bioforce, it turned out he and his friends did too! They were actually buying beer for a party that night, and invited me along. They gave me a lift back in their car, and although they hadn’t yet told me where the party was, all the tower blocks are very close together, so I imagined it would be nearby.

Imagine my surprise when we pulled in and parked at my building! (I’m sure by now you can see where this is going…)

I asked them where the party was, and they said it was at their place, and as we got into the lift, he pressed the button for the 7th floor. I looked at them in astonishment and said “That’s so weird, cos I live on the 7th floor!”.”In which building?” “In THIS building!”

Of course, I hadn’t recognised them with their clothes on, but it was actually my lovely new neighbours! So, suffice to say we partied and hung out, and now I have an excuse to wave at them while they walk around topless….

Let’s see, there’s G, a former lumberjack, who I have nick-named the Boy Scout as he literally has everything. I mentioned our lack of gas to cook with, and he promptly arrived on my doorstep with a camping stove, and pans, which he apparently just has lying around for these kind of emergencies! He’s also incredibly beautiful and spent all day yesterday cleaning and scrubbing their flat with no shirt on. Seriously, he’s 28, hot, and fond of cleaning!

Then there’s A, who’s half French and half Argentinian, with a very pale latino complexion and eyes that keep going from blue to green. A is extremely friendly and delicious, (and also fond of wandering around topless – he always waves hello while I’m busy appreciating the view!). He appears extremely keen on me, but also apparently has a girlfriend in Peru, and seems to have fairly loose morals when it comes to fidelity!

M, number three, is very quiet and sweet, and again, looks very good in a towel!

So, my French is improving rapidly, (now that I have an incentive to learn!) and last week we went on a three-day team-building exercise which consisted of a 23km hike in the hills, followed by a day of debates and then a 20km hike back down again.
We were all split up into groups of 30, and then given instructions, and it was supposed to simulate the kind of things you need to be aware of in the field, so we had to allocate people into certain roles like coordinators, navigators, security, medical care, food supplies etc.
We had to plan menus, buy the food and divide it amongst the group, organise equipment to carry, and plan the route (although we were given some specific directions, as each group was supposed to follow a different route).

It was really fun, although intensely hard work, and unfortunately I got a rotten cold and struggled a bit, but it was a great chance to get to know some of the French students and we all really bonded in our groups. The security detail was hilarious, as obviously there wasn’t much danger, so they would make little security announcements whenever we stopped for a break and check everyone’s shoelaces were tied, or announce when the rocks were slippery, and stand guard over potholes and large puddles to stop people falling in!

My group were all lovely and helpful, and everyone made sure everyone else was ok, and the boys took turns carrying extra bags if someone got too tired etc.
I should also mention the rather divine Pierre, who speaks very little english but has blue eyes you could drown in, and kept taking his shirt off to reveal his fabulous chest……
Now that got me through the uphill bits!

Sorry if this email seems a tad boy-obsessed, but if you could see all these gorgeous hunks swanning about I defy you to think about anything else!

And of course somewhere along the way we have classes and study etc, which is also going really well, it’s all really fascinating and interesting, and still loaded with far too many unnecessary acronyms.

Anyway, it’s lunchtime now, so I’m off to see which delightful young men are in the lunch room today! (and I get to work the “foreign English girl” angle, which apparently makes me more exotic and interesting!)

tons of love
“May all hot French men stay topless forever…” Maya

p.s. Apologies to those of you who might find this post a bit sexist. It’s meant to be appreciative, not derogatory. What can I say, I have a weakness for French guys….


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